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NFL Draft Still Pulls From the Traditional Schools

May 13, 2014

The 2014 NFL draft is now in the books and we can begin to analyze the results. Every year players are selected from schools that most fans have never heard of. Gems can be found from any school, round or pick. There have been more hall of fame players that went undrafted then selected with the first overall pick.

Darren Everson of the Wall Street Journal reports on the schools that won and lost the 2014 NFL draft.

It will be years before we’ll know which NFL teams won or lost last weekend’s NFL draft. But from a college standpoint, we can hand out the grades right now.

The immediate takeaway from the draft was Texas’s historic failure to have anyone selected—the first such occurrence since 1937. But another curiosity was the schools that did the best.

The Count assessed each school’s draft performance by awarding them points for each of the 256 draftees (256 points for the No. 1 overall pick, 255 for No. 2 and so on). With a nation-best nine draftees—led by receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who went 12th to the New York Giants—Louisiana State came out on top. Second-best was Notre Dame, which had eight players selected. (Alabama also had eight, but their players were picked lower.) The Fighting Irish have now had 14 picks in the past two years combined.

But this is a rather bittersweet accomplishment. Despite being laden with mature, NFL-caliber talent, LSU and Notre Dame lost seven games between them last season and finished outside the top 10 in the final polls. Neither played in a major bowl game.

Conversely, college football’s biggest overachiever based on the draft was Michigan State, which had just one player selected (cornerback Darqueze Dennard, No. 24) from a team that finished the season ranked No. 3.

Four major-conference schools had no one drafted: Illinois, Kansas, Northwestern and Texas. (The Seattle Seahawks later signed Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat as a free agent.) This is hardly the kind of company that Texas—the most successful program in football’s most talent-rich state—should be keeping.

Now that the Longhorns’ run of having a draftee every year is over, the longest draft streak is now shared by Michigan and Southern California (1939). If you count the supplemental draft, Notre Dame has had a player selected every year since 1938.

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